Apple growers in shock as snowfall damages trees

ESS AHMAD. Dated: 11/13/2019 12:16:41 PM

ANANTNAG, Nov 12: Five days have passed since the heavy snowfall caused massive devastation in apple orchards in Kashmir but the fruit growers continue to be in a state of shock, especially as the weather forecast predicts more snow from Friday.
The snowfall which started early Thursday morning across the valley caused heavy damage to the apple orchards. Though the reports of damage were received from all the apple producing areas of the valley but Shopian and upper belts of Kulgam where most of the fruit is yet to be harvested are the worst hit.
The snow, besides uprooting the apple trees, has also caused cracks in the middle of trees separating the branches from the trunk. Huge branches of apple trees could be seen lying on the ground in the orchards in Dachnipora, Pahalgam, Dooru, Kokernag, Yaripora, Fisal Kulgam and Shopian areas.
In Shopian and some areas of Kulgam where most of the fruit was yet to be plucked, reports suggested, the orchards suffered major damage due to the snowfall.
Most orchardists from Kulgam and Shopian who spoke to this correspondent said the damage is massive. The officials say that they are still assessing the damage caused to apple trees
“Out of 100 trees in one of orchards more than 60 trees have suffered major damages. They are so damaged that only their stem is standing and rest of the branches have fallen on ground,” said an orchardist Nazir Ahmad from Kulgam village.
Another orchardist from Shopian said that the damage is much more than what was caused due to last year’s snowfall.
“Some orchards are completely destroyed. We have never seen such a huge damage caused to orchards due to snowfall. This is a devastation. It is not only trees but the un-harvested fruit as well that was damaged,” said a farmer from Shopian, Abdul Majid.
A horticulture officer from Shopian said they have been visiting various areas of the district from the last two days to assess the damage.
“We are still assessing the damage and after visiting all the areas we will be able to put the accurate assessment. But what we have seen during the last two days suggests that the damage is massive,” the official said.
He opined that the damage caused to the apple trees will lead to reduction in the apple produce in coming years.
Chief horticulture officer, Kulgam, Mushtaq Ahmad Wani said that during the tentative assessment report they have put the damage at 50 percent
“Since we have not been able to reach the upper areas of the district so far, the damage could be more massive in those areas,” he said.
He said five percent of the unharnessed fruit as per their initial assessment is also damaged.



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